This is an early 1940’s photo of St. Joseph Church in Macon with its original look which over the decades prior to this photo had evolved too:
I arrived at St. Joseph, Macon, July 1, 2004. My first two years there were consumed with completing the renovation/restoration of our historic church, which I think is the most beautiful in the diocese.
I discovered this first photo on the internet which I don’t recall ever seeing. It is the beginning of the renovation and the magnificent windows (all of them!) are removed for restoration in Atlanta and New York.
Then there is the scaffolded church which I had the nerve to go up only once and once was enough at it swayed at the top! You can see the original location of the altar railing, and how the original altar was oriented with its three steps up to it and the ugly 1970’s altar plopped in front of it. The horrible freestanding altar took up the entire sanctuary space with the original placement of the altar railing causing a truncated look and feel to the space:
I had the railings removed for the completion and rededication of the church in 2006. The four steps up looked like coming down Mt. Everest and thus we had to add the horrible looking hand railings for safety!:
But in 2013, a generous benefactor donated money for the restoration of the altar railing, which fortunately we had saved under another building on the property. More railing had to be fabricated. We had only one original bronze gate, thus three new ones were fabricated and there is no way to pick out the original gate, the new ones were so well done.
We extended the sanctuary into the nave of the church, elevated the floor and placed new marble tiles on the sanctuary floor, although the existing look remains below all the new stuff. We commissioned a new free standing altar which at first I had a love/hate relationship with. I asked that the altar be all white marble but when it arrived the red marble had been added which looked brown to me. Because it created contrast with all the white marble behind it, the brown/red look grew on me. I love the magnificent candlesticks that were donated by a generous benefactor as well. I think the renovation/restoration was very well done and the after/after restoration of the altar railings and gates was the final great touch!
POSTSCRIPT: Originally, we had lengthy discussions about slicing the altar away from the reredos to make it the free standing altar. I thought what was done at Most Holy Trinity in Augusta was a great solution. However, the structural engineer felt that doing so would destabilize the magnificent reredos and he counseled against it. If I had it to do all over again, I think we could have found a way to do the Most Holy Trinity thing at St. Joseph too, but that’s marble under the bridge.